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How to write an article for Young Scientists Journal

Introduction

One of the aims of the Young Scientists Journal is to introduce young people to academic writing and other forms of science writing . Different types of written work are written in different styles for example, a fiction book, a government report, and a newspaper will use different language, structure, and formatting. The style used is intended to support the content and make it easier for the reader to understand. We accept any sort of article, from original research articles to review articles, although they have to be written in a way people aged between 12 and 20 can understand them. Academic journal articles have their own style which is probably different to anything you have written or read before. The academic writing style is:

  • Formal – avoid colloquial language (e.g. a lot, cool, kid);
  • Concise – write as precisely as you can and avoid waffling;
  • Structured – break your article into sections with headers;
  • Impersonal – avoid writing in the first person (I did, we went);
  • Referenced – if you make a claim that is not your personal findings it should be supported by a reference.

This article will guide you though the technical and stylistic choices you have to make to write excellent articles, increasing your chance of getting published and preparing you for future work.

Before you begin

Before you write an article for YSJ you should make your you meet the requirements and that you are set up with and account on the YSJ website.

Requirements for writing an article

You must meet the following criteria:

  • Every author must be aged between 12 and 20 at the time of writing the article , adult help is acceptable but must be limited to proof reading and guidance;
  • The article (and any images) must be your own work and not the copyright of another person;
  • The article must be on a scientific, technology, engineering, mathematical, or related topic;
  • The article must be factually correct.
  • If you are submitting an infographic then follow the same procedure just submit it as a post rather than an article.

Register as a user on the YSJ site

  1. Click the log in link in the top right of any page;
  2. Click Register;
  3. Complete the form;
  4. Click Register;
  5. An email will be sent yo you with your new password (you can change this later).

Adding a new article

After logging in to the YSJ website you will see the dashboard. To start your new article

  • Click Articles;
  • Click Add New.
Add new article

 

Fig. 1: How to start writing a new article

How to start writing a new article

YSJ 2015, Young Scientists Journal.

 

The article writing system

YSJ uses the Annotum system for writing, reviewing and publishing articles 1 . The Annotum system saves us and you a lot of work because it has all the tools and styles built in for academic writing. You can write your article in the website directly or paste it in from Microsoft Word. The Annotum system ensures that you have all the formatting correctly done before you submit the article to the YSJ reviewers.

Annotum provides some information on using the text editor here: https://annotum.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/topics/6140-editor-features

The article writing system

Fig. 2: The article writing system

The article writing system is divided into two columns. Of the left is the main content of the article, while on the right are are setting and information about the article.


In the left hand column there are the following sections:

  1. Title – The title of your article;
  2. Abstract – This is a short summary of your article no more than 200 word long;
  3. Subtitle (optional) – the subtitle of your article;
  4. Article – The main text of your article from start to finish;
  5. References – A list of the references you have used in this article;
  6. Funding Statement (optional) – If you received any money to write this article please state who gave you the money;
  7. Acknowledgements (option) – If you would like to thank anybody who was directly involved with the writing of the article list them here.

The right hand column has the following sections:

  1. Status – where the article is in the writing, reviewing, and publishing process. You can also save your article, and submit it for review;
  2. Article Tag – Add some relevant keywords that describe your article;
  3. Article Category – Select the category which best describes your article;
  4. Author – your name
  5. Co-Authors – add other authors (they must be registered with the YSJ website)

Writing your article – Technical

This section will explain how to use the text editor to write your article.

Sections and sub-sections

Sections are a really important part of Annotum and academic writing in general. You may be familiar with breaking your science homework into parts like Introduction, Results, and Conclusions. In Annotum sections are identified by the symbol. Each section has a title, and you can have as many sections as you like. A sub-section is a section within a section, this allows you to break a section into parts while still showing that it is part of a larger whole. Sub-sections always start with a title, and you can have a many sub-sections as you want. Each layer of sub-section highlights the title in a different colour so you can keep track.

An example of the text editor showing some different sections, the add new section button, and the section, title and paragraph markers.

Fig. 3: Sections

An example of the text editor showing some different sections, the add new section button, and the section, title and paragraph markers.


Paragraphs

In Annotum each new paragraph is marked out by a box. These are not visible in the final version but are in the editor so that you can see the structure of your article. Notice how the paragraph box is contained within the section box, and that sub section boxes are contained within the section box. Therefore you can visually see the structure for your article.

References

Referencing is a very important part of academic writing. Annotum has a built in referencing system that you should use. The [1] button allows you to add references to your article.

The insert references window

Fig. 4: Insert References

The insert references window


Type the details of your reference into the text box. You should include:

  • The Year of publication;
  • The Surname, First name of the author(s), if there are more than three authors you can write Surname, First name for the first author and then et al. to represent and others;
  • The title of the piece of work;
  • The place the piece of work is published e.g. journal, newspaper, website, or for books the name of the publisher.

If the source is online please add a link in the URL box.

An example reference would look like this:

(2014) Morgan, Malcolm & Cruickshank, Heather Quantifying the extent of space shortages: English dwellings Building Research and Information

Within the text the reference shows up as a little number 2 .

Images

It is very important that you own the rights to nay images you use in your articles. Images that you have created yourself, or are in the public domain, or are licensed under creative commons are acceptable. Images taken from a website or Google image search may not be. If they aren’t then you need to make sure every image is fully referenced. For more information on image rights see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZvJGV6YF6Y

For places for find public domain images you can use see:

To insert an image you need to use the “Insert Image” button which look like a tree.

Insert Image

Fig. 5: Insert Image

The insert image interface

Copyright, Young Scientists Journal.
CC BY-NC-SA

To upload a new image click the “Upload Files” link in the top left.

Once you have added you image fill in the attributes on the right hand side

  • Title – The name for your image;
  • Fig. Caption (required) – the caption for the image;
  • Alt Text – description for visually impaired people;
  • Description – Same a caption;
  • Fig. Label (required) -The title for the image that will appear in the article;
  • License – The licence the image is release under;
  • Copyright Statement – if applicable;
  • Copyright Holder – Name of the person who holds the copyright;
  • Display Type – Set to Figure;
  • Link To – Set To None;
  • Size – Set to Medium.

Once you are done click”Insert to Post”.

Equations

If you want to add equations to your article use the equation editor {x}.

Example Equation

Fig. 6: Example Equation

This is an example equation

The Equation editor uses TeX, which is a plane text way to write complex equations. But you can use the drop down menus at the top of the equation editor to add the parts of the equation that you need. Remember to add a Label and Caption to the equation.

Fig. 7: Equation Editor

The Equation Editor

Tables

The table options appear in the bottom row of the text editor. You can insert a table using the “insert table” button. You can then chose the number of rows and columns in the table.

Example Table
This is an example table

Cats Dogs Total
13 5 18

Once you have created your table you an fill in the parts of the table, or use the add and remove row/column button to change the shape of the table. You can also split an merge cells for more complex formatting.

YouTube Video

You can embed a YouTube video by pasting the URL in your article. Remember to paste it in a paragraph on its own. Otherwise the formatting will look wrong.

Pasting in from Microsoft Word

You may find it easier to write your article in Word or similar program and then copy it into Annotum. There are a few considerations when doing this:

  • Images, equations, and tables will have to be added using the methods described above;
  • References will have to be added using the method described above after you have pasted your text;
  • Annotum will remove most formatting from the text and that will have to be manually re-added;
  • Sections and sub-sections will not be automatically created.

Key Steps

This is a basic guide to painless pasting from Word.

  1. Create a new version of your Word document without any images, equations, tables etc. Just the text;
  2. Create a new article in Annotum and fill in the properties such a title, article category etc;
  3. Add all the sections and sub sections you need and fill in the titles;
  4. One section at a time copy the text from Word and post it into Annotum in the correct place;
  5. Save the article;
  6. Add references as described above;
  7. Add images, equations, and tables as described above;
  8. Save the article.

XML Errors

When you try to save your article you may get a message like this.

There is an xml error in the body. If the article is in a published state it will be transitioned into a non-published state until these are fixed.

Young Scientists Journal

This means you have made a formatting error of some kind. These errors are easily made so don’t worry. Your article is still saved but will not be published until they are fixed.

Click the “Anno Source” button, which looks like a sheet of paper, and is above the Bold button in the text editor.

XML Error

Fig. 8: XML Error

The Annotum Source view showing an XML error.


Click the validate button to find errors with the formatting. Errors are listed in the yellow box at the top. The line and column number are given to help you find the error. Clicking on the error message will take you to the relevant line.

In this case the problem is on line 5. The problem is that means start a new section, and each section should start with a. However, both line 4 and line 5 have a . In this case fixing the problem is easy, the in line 5 is not needed and just has to be deleted.

Clicking Validate again returns another error.

Another XML Error

Fig. 9: Another XML Error

After fixing the first error more errors have been found.


In this case there is unnecessary at the end of the article in line 67.

Again this problem can be easily fixed by deleting the unnecessary . Now click Validate again. Once the yellow box says Validation Successful all error have been fixed. Click Insert to make the changes permanent and save the article.

When trying to fix errors remember that each piece of mark-up must be opened and closed e.g.This is the title. Most error come from a missing opening/closing or a stray open/close that is not where it should be.

Common mark-ups are:

  • – Section
  • – Title
  • – Paragraph
  • – Figure
  • – Caption
  • – Bold
  • – Italic
  • – Underline
  • – Superscript
  • – Subscript
  • – Bullet or Numbered List
  • – Individual item in a list
  • – Reference

Although there are many more, particularly for complex elements such as images, tables, and equations

Writing your article – Style

This section will provide some guidance on writing style. There are several useful guides about scientific writing online:

All of these are aimed a professionals so do not worry if you can not meet that standard. However, there are some steps that are necessary if you wish to be successfully published in the Young Scientists Journal.

Do

  • Proof read your article, correct spelling and grammar errors;
  • Get somebody else to read your article and provide constructive feedback, ideally somebody with a scientific background;
  • Structure your article with sections and sub sections;
  • Reference your sources;
  • Write clearly using precise and formal language.

Do Not

  • Plagiarise (Copy text, images, or results from another person/source and present them as your own);
  • Lie or distort evidence or results;
  • Use long complicated words when a simple word will do.

Sections

While all article should be structured into sections the sections you need will be different depending on the article type. All articles should have:

  • Abstract – A brief summary of the whole article, in the abstract box above the main article
  • Introduction – explaining what that article is about and highlighting the relevant context.
  • A middle
  • Conclusions – at the end of the article make conclusions and summarise the key finding of the article

The middle – Research Articles

A research article details some original research, such as an experiment. This may be write up of a lab you have done at school or on a work placement. In this case the middle sections of the article are fairly standardised.

  • Literature Review – What is already know in the published books and journal articles, what is the expected outcome of the experiment and why
  • Method – What was the experiment and how was it done. A method should be detailed enough that somebody else reading your article could repeat the experiment.
  • Results – Present the results of your experiment
  • Analysis – What do the results mean? Are your results valid or have you make a mistake?

The middle – Review Articles

A review article does not include new research, it is a discussion of work that has already been published. The purpose may be to summarise what is already known or to present an new interpretation based on existing knowledge. It is not however an opportunity to speculate wildly or present theories not backed by scientific evidence. In a review article the middle sections are dictated by the topic. Each section should contain a straight forward idea or concept.

Further Reading + Tools